At a glance: deals and moves in the Irish sponsorship market and beyond for the month of FEBRUARY:




January was a busy month for sponsorship, and February has seen a continuation of this trend, beginning with the announcement of Coral bookmakers as the new sponsor of the Punchestown Gold Cup.

The sponsorship will see the title of the race changed to the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup with a prize fund increase from €50,000 to €250,000. Coral’s first sponsorship of horse racing in Ireland was in January 2016 when it sponsored the entire race day in Leopardstown, including the Handicap Chase and the Hurdle, both with prize funds of €100,000. In March 2016, Coral expanded its venture into horseracing sponsorship with a deal with Punchestown festival. This latest announcement demonstrates an extension of this relationship and the intent of Coral to expand its sponsorship reach.image (2)We noted the high level of bookmakers involved in sponsorship of horseracing in our January Sponsorship Watch, so with this most recent announcement it will be a challenge for Coral to stand out over Boylesports and Paddy Power given their strong presence & history within Irish horse racing.

Also in sport, Under Armour has been announced as the new apparel partner of the Golfing Union of Ireland. This exclusive deal will see Irish players kitted out exclusively in Under Armour from March.

The League of Ireland returned this month with the same sponsor in SSE Airtricity. Along with recruiting a new team of reporters, the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland website has been upgraded and mobile optimised to facilitate a live match centre, video content, and enhance player profiles.

In keeping with sponsorship renewals, Electric Ireland have announced that they will continue their sponsorship of Ireland Under-20s Six Nations home matches. The renewed deal will ensure sponsorship for Under-20s home matches until the 2019/20 season.

In the UK, Walkers kicked off its Champions League sponsorship with a cross-media campaign over TV, digital, point of sale and on-pack promotion. The campaign, #WalkersUnited, sets out to promote its new sharing packs of Walkers and involves a ‘Snap & Share’ competition. Packets of Walkers crisps have the bottom half of footballers’ face printed on them and the public are invited of take a picture of themselves using the crisp packet at the bottom half of their face and share to win a Champions League themed prize. This is a perfect example of how a sponsorship property can be used as a platform to leverage a campaign message to a ready-made audience.

In media sponsorship, this month also saw the build-up across digital for the third series of the now legendary Toughest Trade, the Advertiser Funded Programme (AFP) supported by AIB.1484836345630 Donegal footballer Michael Murphy will swap places with Welsh rugby player, Shane Williams in the first episode series 3, coming to our screens this March. Murphy will travel to train with Claremont while Williams will try his hand at Gaelic football and work in Murphy’s shop in Glenswilly, Co. Donegal.

Meanwhile, Vodafone’s AFP – 4 days in November, which documents the Irish Rugby team’s journey through Guinness Series aired on Saturday 25th February directly after a day of Six Nations Coverage on RTE2. This was seen by approximately 439,000 Adults.

Burger King, who has not been notably active in the sponsorship sphere have signed on to sponsor The Graham Norton Show on TV3. We expect that this sponsorship will not be the only movement in the fast food category in 2017.

Googlebox returned to our screens in February, with a renewed sponsorship by Virgin Media. The opening episode of series 2 was watched by 403,000 individuals. Gogglebox is arguably the perfect platform for product placement with a natural, relatable scenario brought to our (9) With that, Virgin Media have continued to include product placement in its sponsorship deal and Dominos will again be featured in the show’s content.

Some sponsorship properties that have become available this month include Entertainment News on 2FM – a high frequency option across the 2FM schedule. The market price for this is €45,000 for 3 months.

House, ‘Ireland’s Largest Interior Design Event’ brought to the market by INM has a number of offerings for sponsorship. This property is only a year old and has already proven to be a runaway success.